Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Glen Murray touted his political experience on Monday and said he will focus his campaign on helping middle-income Ontarians.
Speaking with Matt Galloway on CBC's Metro Morning, Murray, who announced his leadership bid on Sunday, said his experience in cabinet and as the former mayor of Winnipeg uniquely qualifies him to replace outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"I'm the only person in this race who's ever run a large government, who's ever slayed a deficit and who's ever brought taxes down at the same time," said Murray, 55, who represents the riding of Toronto Centre. "I was almost always labour-endorsed in my elections. I've been a trade unionist and I've run my own business."
Murray is the first candidate to officially announce his bid to become leader. Kathleen Wynne is expected to announce her candidacy later on Monday.
Others rumoured to be considering bids include former Liberal cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello and Health Minister Deb Matthews.
McGuinty triggered the leadership race last month when he resigned and prorogued the legislature with his minority government facing a number of controversies.
The prorogation decision was a controversy in itself, with opposition members claiming McGuinty made the move to dodge uncomfortable questions about his government's decision to close power plants west of Toronto.
Murray was cagey when asked by Galloway if he supported McGuinty's decision to prorogue and said the prorogation is not a top-of-mind issue for most Ontarians.
"I’ve not had people coming up to me in large numbers, making an issue of it," he said. "There have been many prorogations in the past, this one probably is as valid as any other. People are not hearing enough from politicians about the things that are meaningful to them."
Galloway also asked Murray where he stood on another controversial Liberal decision to impose a contract on teachers in a move to curtail labour costs.
"The tough decisions we had to make were the right ones," said Murray. "I don’t believe you can suspend collective bargaining and I don’t think that’s what we did. We certainly came close to the edge of it."
Murray said he will focus his campaign on "jobs, prosperity and spending a lot of time looking at those middle-income Ontario earners, those who make under $85,000 getting more money in their pockets."